Improve Our Spiritual Formation By Helping Others

Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.  –Booker T. Washington

For more than 25 years, I’ve had a part in the development of young people through the youth soccer program. When you talk about giving responsibility and then trusting them, try teaching them something about refereeing a soccer match and then sending them out at age 14 or so with a whistle.

I take great enjoyment in watching young people develop into mature and responsible adults. It is the primary job in life for adults–to nurture the next generations.

Take another look at Paul’s letters to his protege, Timothy. He consoles him, challenges him, offers wise advice, and reprimands him. All in two short letters.

A friend told me recently about a thought he’d picked up that the church is called to equip people for ministry. Train them and then send them out.

I’m from the rural Midwest where there are still many people who remember the church as the social center of the community. Of course, almost everyone went to the same church. The public school was for all practical purposes an extension of the church.

For these people even unto today, the church is more like a club where you go meet your friends than a place where you intentionally train and encourage people for ministry.

People learn what they see and experience. If they see Christians as part of a club that withdraws from society once or twice a week, that is one thing. If they see Jesus-followers out in the community helping people, living like Jesus commanded, they learn something entirely different.

Our life is our witness. When our words are not congruent with our lives, then it’s what we do not what we say that is the witness to others. That is our challenge. To withdraw for spiritual nourishment and then live as if we learned something.

When we get that whistle and get in the game, do we use it wisely?

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